Not once during her 11 years with the Newton County Recreation Commission did Carol Rooks ever dread going into work. That doesn't mean every day was easy, but she loved her job and her fellow employees.
"I've been blessed to work here. Some days it was tough, but for the most part it's been a joy, said Rooks, who is retiring as marketing and special events coordinator.
"Tommy Hailey and Anthony Avery, in my career being a "boss," I wish I would have had the skills I learned from them. They're good people to work for. They're concerned about you as an employee and as an individual."
Her first husband died young, and Hailey actually introduced Rooks to her second husband, Rickey, who owns a woodworking company.
She was born in Jacksonville., Fla., and came to Covington in 1989 when she was transferred to manage the local Belk. She retired from Belk after 20 years and, after doing some travelling, was looking for something to do. Marketing seemed like a great fit.
Her first special event was probably her biggest, the opening of the Turner Lake Complex. More recently, she's helped with the reopening of Cousins Gym, which she loved for its cultural and historical significance.
She's seen the recreation commission double during her decade on the job.
Rooks was heavily invested in tourism efforts in general.
"Just being able to work on tourism with the chamber and promote tourism, that means a lot to me. Downtowns, particularly old ones, have a special place in my heart," she said.
That love will keep Rooks involved, and she promised her recreation workmates that she'll come back to volunteer. Meanwhile, she's always wanted to learn how to throw pottery and recently bought a potter's wheel. So keep an eye out for those Rooks originals in the future.
"I just want to have new learning experiences, meet new people and try new things," she said. "I'm not going to sit around at home."